Video Baby Monitors Prompt Questions About Who’s Watching Your Home

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Parents beware - that video monitor you use to keep tabs on your baby could be broadcasting your special moments for anyone to see.

WHNT News 19 is Taking Action for Tennessee Valley families to help keep you safe.

Parents often use these video camera monitors so they can watch their children from another room to make sure they're safe.  However, these cameras can put your privacy at risk.

We showed local parents how easy it was to see inside their homes without them knowing.

We canvassed neighborhoods in our news rig, stalking signals, picking up live video of babies.  Sometimes, moms would pass by in the videos.  We showed the video to Christy Bishop, a local mother of two.

"That makes me sick," said Bishop.  "If you’re looking at my baby who else is looking at my children?"

Video baby monitors broadcast on public airwaves.  Busybodies or burglars can watch what your family is doing inside your home from hundreds of feet away.

The radio and video frequencies are openly accessible to the public.  Many devices can pick up signals from other monitors, similar devices and receivers.  That was the case for us.  We used three different receivers to see what we would pick up.

"Oh my God, even I don’t get a signal that good," said Sherry Moody, a mother of three when looking at our video.  "It amazes me that you have a picture that clear and if you’re getting it that clear, who else might be seeing my kid too?"

That's exactly our point.

Erin Ward, a new mother, is thinking about all of her private moments with her son that no longer seem private at all.

"I am going about my business in my home, getting out of the shower to check on the baby while he is taking a nap," Ward said.

You're opening yourself up to potentially would-be bad guys, your neighbors listening to your private conversations.

Here's another problem.  Parents think that when they shut these receivers off, the radio frequencies won’t be broadcast. Many parents seem to forget about the camera is still broadcasting a signal, even if the receiver is off.

If you’re unnerved, get unplugged.

"I will unplug every bit of it," said Bishop.

While digital baby monitors are are a safer alternative than analog monitors, they are not foolproof.

So, what can you do to protect yourself and have more security?

One option you have is to find video monitors that work off your home WiFi.  Some of them are encrypted and offer additional security benefits.  Also, check out baby monitor apps for your iPhone or Android.  These also operate using your WiFi network and can offer you home protection as well as monitoring services when you're not home.  This way, you have the control, not the "Peeping Toms."